Monday, August 2, 2010
I loved playing barefoot in our old backyard ever since I took my first steps. I'd often spend the entire afternoon looking at the bushes, trees and butterflies. The yard was mostly filled with sharp white rocks, thorny berries and shriveled flowers, but that was the way things were when we bought the home.
Realizing that I loved the outdoors, Mom removed the dead flowers and thorny plants. Dad purchased some wood, around 100 bags of potting soil and all kinds of seeds - and my parents used them to create a 12' × 12' patch. They were happy as long as I enjoyed the garden. Its purpose was to let to see the cycle of life - from sprouts to withered leaves. I absolutely loved the garden even though it didn't produce anything edible. The garden wasn't just a haven for slugs, bugs and birds, but also one for me.
We moved to a house with a larger backyard shortly after I turned nine. Because I was diagnosed with a weak metabolism due to autism, Mom decided to actually grow food. The first two years were tough: the dirt was hard and full of rocks while the potting soil alone wasn't enough. Anything that did grow was infested with insects.
Therefore, my mother spent much time researching how to improve the soil. She ordered a large amount of organic compost as well as made her own from fruit peels, egg shells and table scraps. From the third year onward, our garden got better every season. There would be about 30 types of produce at harvest time. The juicy vegetables made the garden popular among our friends as well. People would often visit us in hopes of taking some home.
From Grandpa to Mom, everyone in my family has culinary talents. This is especially true for my mother - to her, being in a kitchen is like a fish in water. She is also well-versed in choosing natural and healthy ingredients. Her cooking skills are exceptional, and anyone who tastes our food would be greatly amazed.
Having enjoyed Mom's food for so many years, I recently picked up an interest in cooking as well. I'm hoping to learn a dish from her every few days. Please join me on my culinary journey as I share our stories and recipes.